Shooters Forum banner

Optimum and Maximum Practical Game Weight

9902 Views 39 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  mikmarandola
I have searched the internet for Information on stopping power and formulas and tried to figure a formula to account for explosive wounding. This formula can be found under Hunting Stories, perhaps the wrong place to put it..

As I said before I think the Taylor, Hatcher and Thornily formulas to be among the best. I found a post on a forum claiming the Optimal game weight formula to be the best. I found a ballistic program which whilst calculating a ballistic chart also would calculate Taylor's knockdown number or any other of twenty-six knockdown formulas.

The text attached to the program gave the formulas, plus other formulas to calculate gel wood and steel penetration. It also had a chart for each formula so you could know what was needed for each class of game. When you calculated the number for a deer rifle on Taylor's chart, then calculated the number for almost any other formula it still came out as a deer rifle. So it matters not what formula you use as long as you have a chart to go with it.

I then thought what is the best formula. Going back to what I know.

1/ The 45 auto has a great reputation for short range stopping power. It loses 30ft/sec over 100yds so it doesn't lose much stopping power over distance.

2/ The 30 cal carbine was considered to be a bit marginal when it came to stopping determined enemies.

3/ The 223 Armalite/M16 could inflict terrible wounds (at short range) due to explosive wounding and or an unstable bullet.

I think these guns should be rated 1, 3, 2, or perhaps 3, 1, 2, at very short range. Looking at these weapons using OGW gives 1/ = 41lb 2/ =141lb 3/ = 97lbs.
The advantage of this formula is obvious, a 150lb deer is to much for a 45 auto, or is it.

There were several game weight formulas with my ballistics program. My favourite Maximum Practical Game Weight uses Energy calibre and bullet weight to produce the target game weight. EN x BW x CAL divided by 100
1/ = 341lb 2/ = 203lb 3/ = 111lb if these weights are the maximum you can expect to get a quick kill with a well placed bullet. I then divide by 2 to get what I consider the "Optimum" game weight". The result means (3/ = 56) the Armalite/M16 could be relied on to take down coyotes at over 100yds. If the game is dangerous divide by 4, e.g. You have just been surprised by a 120lb mountain lion at 50 paces you can't rely on a 45 auto (1/ = 85) to stop it with one shot.
I haven't forgotten about bullet types I would multiply the above numbers by Hatcher's bullet chart e.g. 0.9 for FMJ, 1 for LRN. I have read that pointed bullet tend to tumble for these I would use a factor of 1.5 which still doesn't turn the Armalite/M16 into a good deer rifle.
With these and most other stopping power formulas a base ball has more stopping power than a big game rifle. However apples are not oranges and a baseball is not a bullet. The formula I Have for Gel Penetration is:
MOM divided by Cal^2 x 6.625
This gives a gel penetration of .9 inches hardly what is required for an offensive weapon.
As for explosive wounding as far as I know it seems to happen with very high velocity bullets. Perhaps this is already figured in the formula as energy increases with the square of velocity so does the expectation of explosive wounding occur.
After much study these two formulas seem much better than I originally thought.
See less See more
1 - 9 of 40 Posts
No offense, Mik....but you're seriously over-thinking this. :)

You can analyze bullets with all the formulas and catch phrases you want, but no matter how you look at it, bullet placement and design is what matters. It isn't the speed, or weight, or "explosive wounding", it's where the bullet hits and what the bullet does, thereafter. The other thing you'll find is that each situation and each critter is different, so even if there WAS a great formula for calculating on-game performance, it could not possibly account for those variations. The primary concern is whether or not the game is relaxed or alarmed, at the time of the shot and the simple truth is; some critters take a lot more killin' than others.

FWIW - None of the three cartridges you listed are "good" deer hunting rounds. They can be used, in some places, though most states ban them for hunting deer...and with good reason.
See less See more
The 223 is rather effective on Deer with a proper bullet.

This thread is about nothing but Deer taken with the 223:

Shot location is the most important and then the bullet.
I'd bet that a properly place 45 ACP bullet will most certainly stop a Couger pronto
Well, that's a topic I won't debate again, but as I stated, most game agencies do not allow them, probably because too many uneducated hunters would try to use military ammo or something with a bullet that is NOT well-suited to harvesting big game. Note that I said they're not "good" deer cartridges, but stopped shy of saying they aren't capable, in the right hands and in the right situations.
The most dangerous game on the face of the Earth is hunted with the 5.56 NATO round IE 223
...and with bullets expressly intended, by international treaty, to wound, not kill. Also, I hold my enemy in contempt, and the game I hunt in the highest regard. If the former suffers I will not lose sleep, but I absolutely have and will, if the latter does not die expeditiously.

I have introduced more than a few new people to hunting big game and would never even consider recommending a 223 for such. As many of the members on this sight have noted, the much more powerful 243 is an "expert's" cartridge. What does that make the 223?

I have nothing further to say on the subject. I respect your right to use it, where legal, but I have even greater respect for the animals I hunt, as well as the hunters who choose an appropriate tool to do so.
Sierra Match-King "open tip" bullets are not to be confused with hollow points; ie, they are not designed for rapid or violent expansion. Their hollow-tip design, as explained above, is there to promote greater long range accuracy and velocity. As such, they do not expand the way a "hunting" bullet would, nor does Sierra advocate their use for such purposes. I would also point out that the preponderance of the dissertation you referenced above pertains to 308 caliber ammunition, as explained in the footnotes.

To clarify: A competent shooter, using a firearm chambered for the .223 Remington cartridge, with an appropriate bullet, can successfully harvest deer-sized game. I do not dispute that and haven't since responding to the OP. What I have said, repeatedly, is that it is not a "good" deer cartridge. It allows little to no margin for error. In my opinion, and in the opinion of most game agencies in this country, the 223 Remington is not powerful enough to consistently and humanely harvest deer under a wide variety of conditions. It is a marginal cartridge that is effective under ideal conditions. Hunt long enough and you'll eventually discover that you don't always have ideal conditions. The 223 is a great varmint cartridge and is best utilized as such. In the south, where the live weight of a deer is frequently 150 pounds or less, sometimes quite a bit less, perhaps it is suitable for hunting them. However, even then there are better options that offer a significantly better compromise between bullet weight, sectional density and recoil.

On a related topic, I find it ironic that your tag line suggests you prefer a 45 caliber handgun over a 9mm, yet you espouse the virtues of a center-fire 22 varmint cartridge for big game. To each their own, where the law allows, anyway. :rolleyes:
See less See more
I give up. Clearly one gory picture of a gut pile is proof enough that any centerfire 22 bullet is just fine for deer. (I have seen WAY worse, btw...) Just out of curiosity, though, how is it that a fully expanded bullet was recovered on what appears to have been a broadside shot on a deer?

I've killed deer with close to a dozen different cartridges and I can't say as I've ever recovered a bullet, unless it struck heavy bone or entered at a severe angle. The vast majority of them made an even bigger mess than above, and kept on going out the other side. I've always been relieved when they exited, because the resulting blood trail is so much easier to follow. But, given that this bullet didn't exit, I'm sure the .224" hole going in wouldn't have clogged shut with fat and hair. If the deer had decided to run 150 yards, the way they sometimes will, even with a devastating heart shot like this one, I'm sure that tiny little entry wound would have just bled like crazy...right?

To the OP, should you still be listening to this drivel: The three rounds you mentioned are service rounds, not intended for sporting use. In fact, each is best utilized for the killing of people, which is what they were individually designed for, essentially. You may employ them as a sporting round, but be advised that there are far better options available.
See less See more
I've acknowledged that deer in the south are smaller and even said, "The 223 is a great varmint cartridge and is best utilized as such. In the south, where the live weight of a deer is frequently 150 pounds or less, sometimes quite a bit less, perhaps it is suitable for hunting them."

What I must not be conveying very well is that I never said you can't kill a deer with a .223 Remington...I just said it's not a good cartridge for the job. I stand by that, even on smaller deer. If others choose to use one, where it has been deemed sufficient, I'm fine with their choice. On the other side of the equation, I think a 300 Win Mag is too BIG for hunting deer with, but I also don't have a problem with someone choosing that caliber, if it's what they want to use. Neither is a particularly good choice if guns chambered for other cartridges are available and neither is anywhere close to ideal for inexperienced hunters. Whether others agree with me or not is immaterial...I will not equivocate to appease anyone, particularly when it's strictly a matter of opinion.
See less See more
There is a wide range of suitability between the two extremes of "good" and "bad". I never said the 223 was a bad deer cartridge, but it sure isn't a great choice, especially north of the Mason-Dixon.

Mike, on those deer you've had to track quite a ways after being shot with your 257 and '06...did you eventually find your bullet had penetrated completely, allowing for a blood trail that CAN be followed?

It's easy to say the word, "deer" and forget that you're talking about animals that can range in size, quite a bit. The first buck I ever shot was an old Michigan whitetail that dressed out at 160lbs. The third deer I ever shot was a nice 3x3 blacktail, but he only dressed out at 85lbs. The middle one was a scrawny little blacktail that I never bothered to weigh, but if he had been a boy on the playground, he would have been picked last...I'm guessing 60lbs, dressed.

To put it in perspective, my dad shot a blacktail just a few hundred yards away, with a 30 carbine. His shot was aimed behind the ear, but hit the deer a little lower down, in the neck. It only ran 200 yards...STRAIGHT DOWN HILL! :D Dad cussed that deer, and that gun, swearing he would never again use it on anything bigger than a jack. At the same time, he harvested more than a handful of deer with a 22...Win Mag. The times were tough but the shot conditions were ideal: He was a crack shot back then and hitting an object the size of a brightly lit quarter was no trick at all. And our family ate well for a week or two. Does that mean the 22WMR is a "good" deer rifle? Of course not! Just because a given cartridge "will" kill a deer, does not mean it is a good choice to consistently do so, under a wide variety of conditions.

I find it a bit absurd that this topic even has to be debated, really. So, I'll shut up, now.
See less See more
How long before this useless argument ends????????? :confused:
It'll probably end about the time one of these guys has a trophy buck move, just as they squeeze the trigger, or when they find out their scope had come loose, shifting POI a few inches. As the deer of their dreams runs off to die a long, slow death, with little chance of tracking it successfully, because those tiny bullets just don't allow for much wiggle room, these guys who are willing to operate on the thinnest margin of acceptable performance will find out what happens when ideal turns into marginal.

Wisdom is the fruit of failure, by and make enough dumb mistakes and you learn to think things through, allowing yourself a margin for error. When you're young and cock-sure, you'll ride the razor's edge, but after you cut yourself enough times, you smarten up and realize things don't always go just as you planned. In fact, you start to see things clearly and grasp that they RARELY go by-the-book! That's when these guys will figure out that you don't hunt with just barely enough carry something that will get the job done, and then some. You chamber a cartridge with a bullet that will work when everything is textbook AND when you, or providence, encounter a far less than ideal situation.

Sadly, a lot of people refuse to learn by anything other than their own mistakes; least of all the wisdom, conventional or hard-earned, offered by others. In fact, the most hard-headed guys will push the envelope as far the other direction as possible, just to prove...well, to prove their elders right, by and large. I should know...been there, done that, got the bad memories to prove it.

FWIW, Ken -- These are the "pointless" arguments that should be argued. No, I won't convince jwp to err on the side of caution, or that discretion is the better part of valor. He'll be convinced he's right until backed into a corner and the good Lord delivers an incontrovertible lesson. That doesn't absolve me of the right (and responsibility?) to do my best to shed a little light on the subject, does it? I sure hope not, because, just as I won't shy away from testifying about the Way, the Light, and the Truth, I will not stop sharing what I have learned about other things close to my heart.

P.S. I'm a man of God first, and a man of science, second. Math might get man to the moon, but it is only by grace that he may be redeemed. There is no formula for calculating what a given bullet will do because there is no way to quantify the "spirit" God has endowed his creation with. Hunt long enough, as many of us here have, and this too, will become evident. Hunting's way more fun than MATH, anyway! :p
See less See more
In my ridiculous state (Indiana) minimum bore size for a deer rifle is 35 caliber! Well, unless your barrel is short enough to be legally considered a handgun, in which case the minimum is .243" In the rifle, the case can't be more than 1-5/8" long, but in a handgun, you can shoot a 300WM, if you like.

Talk about things that don't make sense, eh? :)
1 - 9 of 40 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.